Find Your Hands’ Fountain of Youth

Beauty/Skincare, Featured Article, Healthy Aging, Healthy Living
on December 23, 2011

With all of the anti-aging creams, serums, and fillers aimed at wiping away wrinkles on the face, you might think that’s the only place where the signs of aging appear. Your hands, though, are another area where wrinkles, sun spots and enlarged veins can reveal your age. Thankfully, it is possible to prevent some of the aging in your hands, as well as reduce things like thin, crepe-like skin and liver spots, with a combination of at-home care and in-office treatments. Here’s a look at the latest.

Battle dryness. “To give hands a more youthful appearance, the skin should appear smooth, without dryness or dullness,” says Dr. Glenn Kolansky , a dermatologist in Red Bank, NJ. You can achieve this goal by keeping your hands well hydrated: Use creamy, white hand cleansers—and avoid clear, antibacterial washes or alcohol-based hand sanitizers—when sudsing up; wear gloves while washing the dishes; and always keep skin coated with moisturizing hand creams.

Shield them from the sun. During the day, moisturizers with SPF are best, as they prevent the formation of sun spots caused by UV rays while simultaneously preventing dehydration. Try Boots No7 Protect and Perfect Hand Cream SPF 15 ($13.99, . Before heading to bed, smooth on a more occlusive cream. “Thicker, greasier products at night can keep hands soft and smooth during the day,” according to Dr. Kolansky.

Plump them up. Because our hands have very little fat, any loss in collagen and elastin is more noticeable here than on other parts of the body. Kolansky recommends using moisturizers that contain human growth factors, which help promote collagen formation to plump skin from the inside so it appears less wrinkled on the outside. While typically made for use on the face, these creams (such as SkinMedica TNS Ceramide Treatment Cream, $64,  also help slow the rate of collagen degradation, which is essential for keeping the skin on the hands firm and wrinkle-free.

Consider injectables. For professional hand care, see your dermatologist, who can help mitigate some of the signs of aging that may have already appeared. “As hands age, they lose fat and tend to look atrophic, with more prominent veins,” according to Kolansky. “Restoring volume with fillers can give hands a more youthful appearance.” These medical fillers (such as Radiesse, Juvéderm and Sculptra, all of which are more typically used in the face) add padding back to the hands, so veins are less noticeable and skin looks less crepey.

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Look into lasers. Several in-office procedures are also available for treating liver spots. Fractional laser resurfacing “improves skin texture and decreases the appearance of brown spots,” says Kolansky, by creating minimal damage to the surface of skin, which prompts the cells below to produce more collagen and elastin. Some lasers, as well as intense pulsed light (IPL) treatments, can also target pigmentation and remove sunspots. Talk with your dermatologist to learn which option is best for your skin tone and texture.